Submit your work, meet writers and drop the ads. Become a member
Terry Collett Sep 2018
The nun, plump, robed in a black
and white habit, walked across
the front of the class of girls.

Fay sat half way down on the left
next to the girl Millicent Sullivan
(whose aunt was a nun in Ireland).

"Immaculate Conception," the nun
said," what does it mean and to
whom does it refer?" The girls

stared at the nun whose two chins
wobbled as she spoke. Millicent
didn't raise her hand even though

she knew the answers, but put on
her innocent gaze. "Some of you
girls must know the answers,"

the nun said moodily. Fay raised
her hand and heads turned to look
at her. "Well, Fay?" She felt herself

blush and lowered her hand from
view. "It means one conceived
without blemish or sin," she said

in a soft voice. The nun stood up
to her full five foot frame. "And
what does conceived mean in this

context?" A few girls sniggered,
others gazed at Fay. The classroom
seemed to shrink to a white glow

containing just her and the nun.
"Not sure, Sister Luke," she said.
The nun gazed around the room.

"I am sure one of you girls know
the answer to this," Sister Luke said.
The girls just stared at the nun.

Millicent raised her hand and said:
"It means when the man's stuff
meets the woman's egg." Some

girls blushed, others looked puzzled.
"You have the idea. Now to whom
was it applied?" Sister Luke asked

staring at other girls. "The ****** Mary?"
A thin girl at the back of class replied doubtfully. Fay knew it was, but said

nothing more. The nun went on to
elaborate details. Fay was puzzled
by the man's stuff and egg. She

wondered if Benny knew. She would
ask him after school when she met
him on the way home. He knew

about things like battles and wars
and once kept a goldfish in a glass
bowl until he lost it down the sink.

He might know, she mused, she
didn't know otherwise what to think.
Terry Collett Jun 2018
Your father passed me
on the stairs
on his way to work.

"Can Fay come
to South Bank
with me?"
I said

"To what end?"
He said.

We were standing
half way on the stairs.

"End?"
I said.

"What purpose?"
He said
staring at me.

"Watch amateur tennis
and watched boats
on the Thames"
I said.

He looked
at his wrist watch.

"I suppose she may"
he said
"but not to be late."

He moved on
down the stairs
and I went up the stairs
to Fay's flat.

I knocked at her door
and her mother opened.

"Just seen Fay's dad
and he said
she can come with me
to South Bank."
I said.

Her mother smiled at me.
"I'll go tell her"
she said.

I stood on
the balcony waiting.

Down in the Square
kids were pushing a go-cart
and others
were riding bikes.

Fay came out
on the balcony
and stood beside me.

Her mother
had given her
bus fare
and coins
for an ice cream.

We walked down
the stairs
and walked
through the Square
and down the *****
and waited for a bus.

We held hands
but no one seemed
to notice us.
Terry Collett May 2018
She's nae ready yit
Mrs Scot said
when I called for Hannah
at the flat.

Will she be long?
I asked.

Ah dinnae kinn
she said
waltzing away
up the passage
leaving me
on the doorstep
gazing at her
disappearing ****.

I looked back
into the Square.

Boys were riding their bikes
round the pram sheds
and girls were playing
hop-scotch
in chalked out boxes
or doing handstands
against the wall.

Thought I heard your voice
Hannah said
I was in the bog.

Mum's not
in a happy mood
as Dad forgot
her birthday present
yesterday and today.

I nodded
and looked at her
standing there.

We're going out
she called to her mother.

A grunt came back
along the passage way.

We went out
and she closed the door.

Is she ever happy
your mother?
I said.

Ah dinnae kinn
Hannah said
and smiled.

We went to the park
and rode the swings
and slide.

Then we lay on the grass
and she did mimics
of her mother
and we laughed a lot.

Then we sat in the shade
of the trees
being hot.
Terry Collett May 2018
Mrs Scot had let me
into the flat
and sat me
in the sitting room
without a word except
"*** en"
rather bruskly
at my back.

Hannah I assumed
was still in bed
or dressing
or fast asleep.

I gazed around the room
like an explorer
in some ancient land.

It was tidy but drab.

Statuettes stood on shelves
with photographs of people
in kilts who looked
and stared
with a certain pride.

The window revealed
a span of grass
a fence
and a sight of road.

Hannah went past
in a flash
and closed a door.

I thought I saw her
part naked
but I wasn't sure.

"She'll nae be lang"
her mother said
standing by the the door
eyeing me severely
with her dark eyes
and sign
upon her forehead
should say "
Death this way lies".
Terry Collett Mar 2018
Eddie and Danny and I
were in the boys' toilets.

Danny opened up
a pack of 5 cigarettes,
and we each took one.

Eddie lit them
with his old man's lighter,
then put the lighter away
in the pocket of his blazer.

Eddie stood by the entrance
peering out in case a perfect
or teacher came along.

Do you think
that is Jones's
real face or a mask?
Danny asked.

Eddie laughed
almost choking
on his cigarette smoke.

War wound,
I guess,
I said,
releasing smoke.

No joke,
you think so,
Danny said.

Maybe some *****
slit his throat,
Eddie surmised,
and he survived.

Keep a look out,
Danny said,
in case.

I guess he could
have been,
Danny agreed.

Jones's scar
went right along
his throat.

We could see it
at assembly
or if he passed us
in school.

Who's going to ask him?
Eddie said.

None of us,
it was agreed.

We dumped
our cigarette butts
in the pan
and peed.
Terry Collett Mar 2018
The sun's out
a warm day
and we're there

on the grass
sharing sweets
from white bags:

soft coffees;
sherbet drops.
Father's out

on retreat,
you tell me.
Half and half,

the sweets shared.
Where's he gone?
You pick out

a toffee
and unwrap
the paper.

An abbey,
you reply.
I take a

sherbet drop
and **** it.
How's your Mum?

I ask you.
She's fed up.
Why is that?

Can't tell you.
You sit there
chewing slow.

We're leaving,
you whisper.
Leaving here?

Yes, sometime.
I stare at
your blue eyes.

Why is that?
Mum wants to.
You look sad.

But do you?
I ask you.
I have to;

can't stay here.
You take a
lemon drop.

I'll miss you,
I tell you.
Mustn't tell

any one,
you tell me.
I won't talk,

I tell you.
We're silent.
Sweets are shared.

I missed you
once you went.
I often

thought of you;
your blonde hair,
your blue eyes

and your stare.
© 4 minutes ago, Terry Collett
Terry Collett Feb 2018
She settled next to me
on the swings in the park;
pushing the swings back.

We let go the ground
and the swings moved back
and then forward;
we pushed our legs outward
then under the seat
of the swings
to continue the motion.

We rose quite high,
our feet reaching skyward.

I noticed her white ankle socks
and black plimsoles
moving upwards,
then they disappeared
under the seat,
then I noticed her knees
as she swung backwards.

She talked about a nun
at her school who hit girls
with a long ruler
if they talked out of turn
or gave an incorrect answer.

I said about the teacher
who caned boys at my school
usually in the assembly hall
in front other boys.

I had not been, but more
out of luck than
good behaviour, I told her.

She lifted her legs out
to the blue morning sky,
I gazed at them,
but didn't know why.
Terry Collett Oct 2017
Fay paused by the bus stop.
I got off the bus.

What you doing here?
I said.

Wanted to see you,  
she said.

We walked along
towards the crossing.

What did you want
to see me about?
I said.

We crossed the road.
She looked down
Meadow Row.

I may be leaving,
she said.
Where?
I said.

Don't know yet,
but Mum is taking me
with her when she leaves Dad,
she said.

What about us?
I said.

We walked down
Meadow Row.

I don't know, Benny,
she said softly.

We were silent
and walked to
Rockingham Street.

When will you go?
I said.

Can't say,
she said,
you mustn't tell anyone.

I said I would
tell no one.

We walked up
the stairs of the flat.

We paused
by my balcony.

We kissed
and she went up
the stairs and out of sight
like a bright star
vanishing at  night.
A boy and girl in London 1960
Terry Collett Sep 2017
Fay's father opened up his bible:
read the first paragraph.

Fay looked at the page
and read the paragraph.

Remember that,
I will ask you this evening
to recite it to me,
he said.    

She looked
at the paragraph again.

He closed his bible:
remember what I said,
he said.

He stood up and walked off
with his bible
and into his bedroom.

How will I remember that?
she asked her mother.

What page was it?
her mother said.

Fay bit her lower lip:
it was Luke
not sure what page.

Her mother said:
what was it about?

Fay shrugged:
I didn't take it in
even though I read it
and looked at it again.

Once your father
has gone to work
I’ll get his bible
and you can go through it.

But what if Dad finds out
I have I opened his bible?

He won't I’ll put it back
as I found it,
her mother smiled,
don't worry about it.

But Fay did did worry
even when her father
had gone to work
and her mother brought the bible
and went through Luke.

That's it,
Fay said
pointing to the paragraph.

Copy it out on a bit of paper
and try to remember it,
her mother said.

But isn't that cheating?

Her mother said:
God won't mind
that is whom you need to please.

Fay nodded and copied out
the paragraph.

Her mother took the bible back
exactly where and how she found it
even the angel page marker
back exactly where she found it.

Fay read the paragraph
over and over until
it was stuck in her mind.

When her father
came home after work
he got his bible
and opened it
and said:
do you remember
that paragraph
you read this morning?

Fay's mother said:
why does she need
to remember a paragraph?

So she will know
the word of God,
he said.

She does know as much
as she needs to know,
her mother said.

He looked at her:
I don't want my daughter
to treat her faith like you do,
he said.

Fay looked at her hands
which were shaking.

A row was brewing
she could tell
and the evening
would be hell.
A GIRL AND HER FATHER AND HIS BIBLE 1960
Terry Collett Aug 2017
Whaur ur ye gonnae?
Mrs Scot said.

Going out
with Benny
Hannah said.

Whaur abit?
her mother asked.

Maybe swimming
in Bedlam Park
Hannah replied.

Again?
Ye only went
lest week
her mother said moodily.

Hannah went
into her bedroom
to find her
swimming costume
her mother
followed her.

Ah guess ye want
some bunsens?
the mother asked.

Just a few pence
for the locker key
Hannah said.

Her mother went out
and Hannah
found her costume
and a towel
and waited.

There was a knock
at the front door
and Mrs Scot answered it.

Benny stood there
she stared at him.

Ye hud best come in
Ah suppose
she said to him.

He entered
and walked down
the passageway
Mrs Scot following
behind muttering.

Hannah met him
by her door
got your swimming stuff?
she said.

Yes and money
he said.

Mrs Scot
got her black purse
and gave Hannah
a few coins
and stared at them both.

Nae funay business
she said.

Of course not
Hannah replied.

They went
to the front door
and went out.

The mother
watched them
cross the Square
and out of sight
down the *****.

What did she mean
no funny business?
Benny said.

Just Mum being
her usual charming self
Hannah said.

Benny let the words
disappear from his
12 year old head.
A BOY AND GIRL IN LONDON IN 1960
Next page